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Of Sea and Cloud Hardcover – June 30, 2014

4.0 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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"The Daredevil Snared" by Stephanie Laurens
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The rich lore of the Maine lobstermen combines with an energetic narrative and muscular prose to make Keller's fiction debut a winner." --Publishers Weekly

"The death of a fisherman...sparks a deadly feud in this...tale that vividly portrays...the unexpected beauty...of Downeast Maine.... Keller builds suspense slowly but inexorably...about what will happen when his fiercely independent sons find out how he died." --Kirkus Reviews

"Keller's debut novel examines the tough and hardscrabble world of Maine fishing families. With Shakespearean overtones, Keller's immersive story examines the difficult choices that are made when a family legacy is at stake. His well-crafted narrative builds into an epic story of addiction, greed, betrayal, and the vast power of the sea." --Library Journal

"I found myself swept away with the first stroke of the oar... So accurate and compelling that I couldn't put the book down.... The writing sings...[Keller] wraps you in the web of his fine prose... Of Sea and Cloud makes an excellent read that I highly recommend." --Fishermen's Voice

"Keller is masterful at timing his twists and plot reveals, and I found it difficult to set the book aside. The nuts and bolts of the lobster fishing business are fascinating.... I am eager to see what he comes up with next." --Missoula Independent

"This is lobstering like you've never known or experienced it.... Jon Keller's awesome novel, Of Sea and Cloud...is one you won't forget.... I was...captivated by Keller's descriptions of the lobstering life." --Bangor Daily News

About the Author

Jon Keller holds an MFA from Boise State University. After graduate school, he moved to the coast of Maine and spent several years working aboard a lobster boat and writing for a commercial fishing newspaper. He is now a clam digger on the coast of Maine.

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The Daredevil Snared (The Adventurers Quartet) by Stephanie Laurens
"The Daredevil Snared" by Stephanie Laurens
The latest story of love on the high seas, by best-selling author Stephanie Laurens. Learn more | See author page

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tyrus Books (June 30, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440580227
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440580222
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,199,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a great read. It is a truly rare literary thriller. Straddling the line between genres with beautiful prose and close involvement with the inner lives of its characters, Of Sea and Cloud moves with the heart racing pace of an airport thriller, while allowing the reader to reflect on important themes of loyalty, family, love and the nature of uncertainty. This book provides the reader with a window into the tightly held world of a local lobster wharf and the sea that provides both livelihood and meaning for characters dealing with change on a global as well as personal scale. The death of Nicolas Graves and the imbalance it perpetrates on the lives of his sons and those who loved him play out with rising intensity in the battle between two families over historic lobstering grounds and control of a lobster pound which may offer the only viable economic future in a changing world.
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Format: Hardcover
I could not put this book down once I opened it. Superbly crafted, it is a kind of "thriller" about volatile human relationships in a small town on the coast of Maine. The work is lobstering, but never have I understood so well not only what this work demands, or the complex unwritten rules of the trade, but also the way individual lives can be pressured by global economics on the one hand and old family loyalties on the other. Keller's experience as a lobsterman himself radiates from every page, yet his training and skill as a writer allows him to see his characters with all the compassion and starkness and greatness with which Shakespeare sees his. This book is an absolute winner.
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Format: Hardcover
Full disclosure: I received an advance readers copy of this book from NetGalleys in exchange for an unbiased review.

Nicolas Graves has known nothing more than the life of a lobsterman. Day in, day out, year after year, he has focused on hauling in lobsters, setting his traps, and worrying about the price per pound. This single-minded focus was for the benefit of his family, but while he and his son Bill were tremendously close, his relationship with his son Joshua (known as Jonah) was fraught with tension and misunderstanding from an early age.

When Nicolas is lost at sea, Bill and Jonah pick up their father's mantle as lobstermen. Both learned at their father's side, and while Jonah left to go to college, he returned to follow in his father's footsteps. Yet their father's death has left them at odds—the two sons don't share the same opinions on what to do next, and have different priorities, especially as the price of lobster plunges across the world.

Bill wants nothing more than to continue as his father would, while Jonah isn't sure that this way of life is the answer anymore. While Bill finds himself enmeshed in a romantic relationship with a girl he grew up with, Jonah is restless and wonders whether his father's death wasn't some kind of sign. Yet as the brothers struggle with each other, and Jonah must deal with his unresolved feelings about his relationship with his father.

But Bill and Jonah also find themselves at odds with an unexpected enemy—Osmond Raymond, their father's partner in the lobster pound business for years. Osmond is also the town preacher and a deeply vengeful and difficult man.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I grew up on the coast of Maine, and this book is downeast through and through. The story moves quickly, the characters are all interesting and well developed, and the writing is top notch. The author creates atmosphere through named landmarks, Maine-shaded dialog and the use of specific terminology. For example, instead of getting bogged down in describing the basic anatomy of a lobster boat, the storyline establishes enough context that the reader can guess what obscure words mean. The main characters are believably flawed and likable, showing some local color with their, um, less-refined ways. Their idiosyncrasies not only drive the storyline, but bring some unexpectedly funny moments.

I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I basically read this book in one, albeit long and interrupted, sitting, and am waiting for the right time to read it again to pick up on the nuances and subtleties I missed the first time around. The gritty realism of the Graves family is a refreshing break from the usual fare of poorly written 'magical realism' and plots revolving around blue-collar neurotics who just need an ass kicking.
There is an integrity that belongs to these characters and this setting on the Maine coast that is not flashy, and it's obvious that Keller took his research and topic very seriously, versus writing a smooth exploitative narrative that could be made into a Hallmark mini-series. I highly recommend reading Sometimes a Great Notion alongside this book--thematically Keller has done an excellent job of capturing the modern angst of the individual(s) against the corporate whole that Kesey captured with the logging industry sixty years ago. It's good to know we still have writers willing to write a narrative that takes years to research and capture; writers who respect the reader enough to pit ugly reality against a pretty, feel-good story.
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